Faith healing


Category:
Knowledge concerning nature
Canton:

Description

In Appenzell Innerrhoden there are non-medical healers who use secret ancestral healing chants and blessings to alleviate pain, relieve fever, calm the blood, drive away warts or extinguish the “fire”. The healing power is passed down through the generations, but the faith healers are not allowed to charge a fee for their services.

Due to a favourable (Catholic) environment, the tradition of healing has remained particularly popular in the canton of Appenzell compared to other regions. It is, however, still practised in Central Switzerland and French-speaking Switzerland, particularly in the cantons of Jura and Fribourg. The healers either consider their services to be a prayer or they practise them with a deep personal connection to prayer. It is difficult to estimate the significance of faith healing within the health system. Even though most people in the canton are aware of this medical “sub-culture”, the practice is a phenomenon largely kept from public view. However, a great number of people have personal stories to tell of baffling, unexpected recovery after a visit to a faith healer.

Image gallery

  • Healing prayers “for wounds and stopping bleeding”, “for fresh wounds”, “for colic”, ca 1900 © Michael Rast/Museum Appenzell
  • Healing prayers “for synovial fluid”, “for the womb”, “for hotness and burns”, “take something else”, ca 1900 © Michael Rast/Museum Appenzell
  • Notes for a healing prayer passed on verbally, Appenzell, 1994 © Roland Inauen/Museum Appenzell
  • Notes for a healing prayer passed on verbally, Appenzell, 1994 © Roland Inauen/Museum Appenzell
  • Healing prayers “for wounds and stopping bleeding”, “for fresh wounds”, “for colic”, ca 1900 © Michael Rast/Museum Appenzell
  • Healing prayers “for synovial fluid”, “for the womb”, “for hotness and burns”, “take something else”, ca 1900 © Michael Rast/Museum Appenzell
  • Notes for a healing prayer passed on verbally, Appenzell, 1994 © Roland Inauen/Museum Appenzell
  • Notes for a healing prayer passed on verbally, Appenzell, 1994 © Roland Inauen/Museum Appenzell

References and documentation

Publications
  • Martina Bühring: Heiler und Heilen. Eine Studie über Handauflegen und Besprechen in Berlin. Berlin, 1993

  • Anita Chmielewski-Hagius: «Was ich greif, das weich…». Heilerwesen in Oberschwaben, Münster, 1996

  • Roland Inauen, Erhard Taverna, Rudolf Widmer, Peter Witschi: Kräuter und Kräfte. Heilen im Appenzellerland. Ed. Walter Irniger. Herisau, 1995

  • Ebermut Rudolph: Die geheimnisvollen Ärzte. Von Gesundbetern und Spruchheilern. Olten, 1977

  • Ingo Schneider: Volksmedizin zwischen Tradition und Moderne. Von SchruchheilerInnen und MagnetiseurInnen im Montafon. In: Schweizerisches Archiv für Volkskunde 89. Basel, 1993, p. 87-100

Documentation
  • Gebetsheilen

    Ausführliche Beschreibung Last modification: 04.06.2018
    Size: 169 kb
    Type: PDF